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Merope Gaunt Character Analysis: Personality Traits & Family

Merope Gaunt Character Analysis: Personality Traits & Family

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Merope Gaunt was a pure-blood wizard who was a member of the House of Gaunt and a descendant of Salazar Slytherin. While her bullying father would often call her a Squib, she was a witch, and when her father was sent to Azkaban, was able to develop her magical powers.

She used her magic to trick a local muggle, Tom Riddle, into marrying her. When she became pregnant, she stopped enchanting him in the hope that he would choose to stay but he abandoned her and she gave birth to their son, Tom Riddle Jnr, at an orphanage in London and died the same night. Her son would go on to become Lord Voldemort.

About Merope Gaunt

Born1907- 31 December 1926
Blood StatusPure-blood
OccupationNA
PatronusUnknown
HouseSlytherin (presumed)
WandUnknown
Zodiac SignPisces (speculative)

Merope Gaunt Early Life

Merope was born into the pure blood House of Gaunt, which proudly traced its line back to Salazar Slytherin. But years of inbreeding and bad investments meant that the family was impoverished, and tended to suffer from mental instability.

Merope lived in squalor in a shack in Little Hangleton, where she was expected to care for her father and brother who emotionally abused her. She was told that she was worthless, which greatly diminished her self-esteem and her ability to do magic. Her lack of apparent magical talent just gave her father Marvolo and brother Morfin more reasons to bully her.

“Pick it up! That’s it, grub on the floor like some filthy Muggle, what’s your wand for, you useless sack of muck?”

Marvolo Gaunt abusing his daughter, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Merope may have attended Hogwarts, the school founded by her ancestor. If she did, she was probably in Slytherin house like most of her family. She may have faired better at school than at home where she was away from her father and had some protection. But equally, her father may have chosen to keep her at home, so her magic may be self taught.

Merope Gains Her Freedom

When Merope was a young woman, she was still living at home and caring for her family. She clearly dreamed of more, and became infatuated with her handsome muggle neighbor Tom Riddle. As well as being good looking, he probably represented a life that Merope could only imagine for herself.

When her brother Morfin noticed her interest in the muggle, he attacked him. This drew the attention of the Ministry of Magic, who sent a representative to resolve the situation. As the Ministry representative explained to Marvolo Gaunt what had happened, rather than being angry at his son, he became enraged that his daughter would moon over a muggle and attacked her. When the Ministry representative stepped in to defend her, Marvolo and Morfin attacked him.

The result of this was that Marvolo was sent to Azkaban for six months, and Morfin for three years. With their influence removed, Merope gained confidence. Her magic improved greatly, and she began to aspire to a better life.

Merope and Tom Riddle Snr

Merope decided to pursue her heart’s desire, Tom Riddle. She presumably used a love potion or similar spell to make him fall in love with her. This became a scandal when the rich, handsome muggle married the poor and strange Merope.

The village of Little Hangleton enjoyed a tremendous scandal. You can imagine the gossip it caused when the squire’s son ran off with the tramp’s daughter, Merope.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

After a year of marriage, Merope became pregnant. At this point, she decided to stop whatever magic she was using to control Tom and his affection. Albus Dumbledore speculated that she had grown to believe that Riddle really loved her and would stay, if not for her, then for the baby. But this was not to be. Riddle immediately abandoned her and told people that he had been “taken in”, since no one would believe the truth.

Merope from short fan film The House of Gaunt

Merope’s Pregnancy

Losing her husband threw Merope into a depression and she completely stopped using magic. This left her living as a pauper in London. Her magic may have been blocked because her depression, or because she felt that magic was the root of her problems.

I do not think that she wanted to be a witch any longer. Of course, it is also possible that her unrequited love and the attendant despair sapped her of her powers; that can happen. In any case… Merope refused to raise her wand even to save her own life.

Albus Dumbledore on Merope, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

When she left her father’s house, she had taken a locket that had belonged to Salazar Slytherin. This was one of her father’s prized possessions and one of the only things of value he possessed. She sold it to Borgin and Burke, in desperate need of the money. Caractacus Burke would later say that he had got it for a steal, as the girl did not know the value, or was desperate for the gold.

When her baby was due on New Year’s Eve 1926, she staggered to an orphanage where she gave birth. She told Mrs Cole, who worked at the orphanage, that she wanted to name the boy Tom Riddle after his father, with the middle name Marvolo after her own father. She died within an hour of giving birth.

The young Tom Riddle, raised at the orphanage, would go on to become Lord Voldemort. Merope’s story would shape Voldemort. Initially, he believed that his father must be the wizard, as a witch would never succumb to death. Discovering the truth may have fuelled his burning desire to conquer death.

Merope Gaunt Personality Type & Traits

Merope grew up in an atmosphere of intimidation and fear with the family that was meant to love and support her actively crushing her spirit. When Harry saw Merope in the memory of Bob Ogden, the Ministry of Magic representative that visited the Gaunts, he thought that she looked defeated.

Her hair was lank and dull, and she had a plain, pale, rather heavy face. Her eyes, like her brother’s, stared in opposite directions. She looked a little cleaner than the two men, but Harry thought that he had never seen a more defeated-looking person.

Harry’s observation of Merope, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Merope craved the love that she never received, and this is why she latched onto the idea of Tom Riddle. He may have said a nice word to her once, which triggered her infatuation. Not having learned how to relate to people and desperate for love, she used magic to gain his affection.

When this endeavor for love and acceptance turned into one more failure, Merope lost the strength to continue. While she was able to hold on to give birth to her son, this mission complete, she has nothing left to live for. She probably believed her incapable of giving him the love and the life that he deserved, and that he would be better off without her.

Merope Gaunt Zodiac Sign & Birthday

Merope must have been born in 1907 to have given birth to Tom Riddle in 1926 at age 19. Her personality suggests that she may be a Pisces. People born under this sign innately crave love and can be less resilient when this is withheld. Love is part of who they are, and they can’t live without it.